Republic of Ireland matchwinner Amber Barrett says she was “caught off guard” when she received messages of congratulations from relatives of the victims of the Creeslough tragedy.
Barrett dedicated her winning strike at Hampton Park two weeks ago to the victims of the Creeslough tragedy. After the ball struck home, Barrett went down on one knee and pointed to the black armband that both she and her teammates wore during the 1-0 win against Scotland.
And that gesture was hailed as a moment of brightness in the dark days of grief in Creeslough.
Barrett, whose grandparents were from Creeslough, said the impact of that goal was far-reaching. The goal not only sent the Republic of Ireland to the World Cup, but it brought a buzz to her home county.
She told media: “Speaking to the family at home, they were saying in Donegal there was a buzz around for what had happened on the Tuesday night but also the badness, of course, of Creeslough. Still the county is reeling from what happened.
“I got a message from Hughie Kelly’s niece, he was one of the victims, and I got a message from Leona Harper’s father, who was also one of the victims, just to basically say congratulations.
“Those two messages kind of caught me off guard. Because you don’t expect when people are going through such a terrible time to take that moment to say, ‘well done’, and congratulate us for what we achieved.
“I think that meant more to me than anything.
“We just hope that our result gave some uplift to the community.
“I’m told it did, but you know, as I said before, in terms of perspective, qualifying for the World Cup is great but it’s not the most important thing in the world.”
Speaking after the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup draw, Barrett says she hasn’t had much opportunity to come to terms with the achievement, as she was straight back into playing right back against Wolfsburg in the days after the win.
“I had a very humbling comedown from that there,” she said.
The Republic of Ireland have been pitted against co-hosts Australia, Canada and Nigeria in a very tough Group B at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.